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dc.contributor.authorLaRoche, Nicole
dc.contributor.authorKing, Sydney L.
dc.contributor.authorRogers, Matthew C.
dc.contributor.authorEckert, Ginny L.
dc.contributor.authorPearson, Heidi C.
dc.date.accessioned2022-01-07T17:26:28Z
dc.date.available2022-01-07T17:26:28Z
dc.date.issued2021-10-28
dc.identifier.citationLaRoche, N. L., King, S. L., Rogers, M. C., Eckert, G. L., & Pearson, H. C. (2021). Behavioral observations and stable isotopes reveal high individual variation and little seasonal variation in sea otter diets in Southeast Alaska. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 677, 219-232.en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11122/12640
dc.description.abstractTwo complementary approaches were used to assess year-round variation in the diet of sea otters Enhydra lutris around Prince of Wales Island (POW) in southern Southeast Alaska, a region characterized by mixed-bottom habitat. We observed sea otters foraging to determine diet composition during the spring and summer. Then, we obtained sea otter vibrissae, which record temporal foraging patterns as they grow, from subsistence hunters to identify year-round changes in sea otter diets via stable isotope analysis of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N). We compared the stable isotopes from sea otter vibrissae and sea otter prey items that were collected during spring, summer, and winter. Overall, year-round sea otter diet estimates from stable isotope signatures and visual observations from spring and summer were dominated by clams in terms of biomass, with butter clams Saxidomus gigantea the most common clam species seen during visual observations. Our results indicate that these sea otters, when considered together at a regional level around POW, do not exhibit shifts in the main prey source by season or location. However, sea otter diets identified by stable isotopes had a strong individual-level variation. Behavioral variation among individual sea otters may be a primary driving factor in diet composition. This study provides quantitative diet composition data for modeling predictions of invertebrate population estimates that may aid in the future management of shellfisheries and subsistence hunting and the development of co-management strategies for this protected species.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipSea otter vibrissae were collected with help from the US Fish and Wildlife Service sea otter tagging program, specifically Brad Benter and Michelle Kissling, and Algeron Frisby, Theodore Peele, Vaughn Skinna, and the Sea Otter Commission, specifically Dennis Nickerson. We thank Ashley Bolwerk, Maggie Shields, Melanie Borup, Tiffany Stephens, Wendel Raymond, Lia Domke, Sarah Peele, Franz Mueter, Dan Monson, Todd Miller, Emily Fergusson, Corey Fugate, and Robert Bradshaw for field, lab, and analysis assistance. This work was a part of N.L.L.’s Master’s thesis at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). We were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Coastal SEES (Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability, award no. 1600049), NSF Bio-Oce (Biological Oceanography, award no. 1600230), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Ser - vice, Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL), and Earthwatch Institute. This publication is the result of research sponsored by the Cooperative Institute for Alaska Research with funds from NOAA under cooperative agreement NA13OAR 4320056 with the University of Alaska. S.L.K. was supported by BLaST at UAS, which is supported by the NIH Common Fund, through the Office of Strategic Coordination, Office of the NIH Director with the linked awards: TL4GM118992, RL5GM118990, and UL1GM118991. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.en_US
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.publisherMarine Ecology Progress Seriesen_US
dc.subjectEnhydra lutrisen_US
dc.subjectForaging ecologyen_US
dc.subjectMarine mammalen_US
dc.subjectApex predatoren_US
dc.titleBehavioral observations and stable isotopes reveal high individual variation and little seasonal variation in sea otter diets in Southeast Alaskaen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.description.peerreviewYesen_US
refterms.dateFOA2022-01-07T17:26:29Z
dc.identifier.journalMarine Ecology Progress Seriesen_US


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